- Holidays and Celebrations
In India the New Year does NOT start in January
Happy New Year
The concept of a calendar is a sign of civilization. The fact that man put value to his time and was aware enough of seasons and changes in his environment. However as civilizations around the world evolved their own time keeping systems down the years, it was natural to have different calenders for them all as well.
While the official calendar we follow these days is adapted from the Roman calendar, there are other older calenders in use around the world. There are Lunar calenders based on the moon cycles, Solar calenders based on the sun, calenders commissioned by kings, calenders specific to a particular race like the Mayan Calender and so many more. These calenders do not celebrate their new years on the 1st of January.
New Years celebrated in India
India is the melting pot of many cultures. People from many religious and regional areas have settled down here. Each of them has retained some parts of their ancient culture.
The festivals that are specific to each religion are based on their own calenders. This is why so many local calenders exist in India and are referred to regularly even today. This means that New Year is celebrated in India all through the year.
The festival of lights is Diwali. Guess what? It is also the "Financial New Year" for the Baniya community. These people are traders and merchants who worship the goddess of wealth Laxmi at Diwali time. They also open fresh ledger books on the day.
Parsi New Year is Navroz. On this day the minority community of Parsis or Zorastrians settled in India will celebrate their new year. This is based on the ancient Persian Calendar that they carried with them when they fled from Iran.
The festival of Baisakhi which is a harvest festival is treated at the Naba Varash or new year by the people residing in Bengal. It is also a day dear to the Sikhs in Punjab as their Guru Gobind Singh organized the order of the Khalsa on this day. Plus their Guru Arjan Das was murdered by the invading Muslims on this day as well.
The Hindu new year according to the Lunar calender is celebrated on Vikram Samvat. Also this is usually some time in the month of April and coincides with the coming of spring. The new year is said to come from the new life that the earth receives after the cold winter.
The first day of the Muslim New year is the first day of Muharram. It serves to remind the people of the "Hiraj" or migartion of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina. While it is traditionally not celebrated it is a new beginning.
So as you can see there are many New Years that are celebrated in India and none of them fall on the 1st of January. Although that is too celebrated with great fervor and gusto by all the people no matter which religion or region they may belong to.